Returning to your roots

From an old friend, on the occasion of my birthday (yesterday):

Groping around for an appropriate photo to send, all I could find is this photo of a Japanese sweet potato.

(#1)

Last spring, I planted an ordinary sweet potato in my window garden because I’d heard the vine would make a lovely houseplant.

And it did. But last week, when the leaves began to look a bit spent, I uprooted it to find it had grown a pair.

Never underestimate an old sweet potato.

Plants, food, phallicity, all in one package.

On the plant, from Wikipedia:

The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the family Convolvulaceae.

Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are a root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. Ipomoea batatas is native to the tropical regions in America. Of the approximately 50 genera and more than 1,000 species of Convolvulaceae, I. batatas is the only crop plant of major importance — some others are used locally, but many are poisonous. The sweet potato is only distantly related to the potato (Solanum tuberosum) and does not belong to the nightshade family.

The genus Ipomoea that contains the sweet potato also includes several garden flowers called morning glories, though that term is not usually extended to Ipomoea batatas. Some cultivars of Ipomoea batatas are grown as ornamental plants

On the sweet potato’s cousin, bindweed (an invasive weed with hybrid cultivars that are more tractable, like the blue rock bindweed): I posted about it here, with a mention of Ipomoea, morning glories, and the plant family Convolvulaceae to which they belong.

Briefly on the family, from Wikipedia:

Convolvulaceae, known commonly as the bindweed or morning glory family, is a family of about 60 genera and more than 1,650 species of mostly herbaceous vines, but also trees, shrubs and herbs.

… Convolvulaceae can be recognized by their funnel-shaped, radially symmetrical corolla

Here are sweet potato vines in the field, with one of the morning-glory-like flowers:

(#2)

And then starting a sweet potato as a houseplant:

(#3)

The alternative to creating houseplants is to use the tuberous roots for food:

(#4)

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